I signed on the dotted line exactly one year ago for my first ever gym membership.
I tried out several gyms, including St. Louis Workout and Bally, before I decided on a chain that's open 24 hours and costs $21.95 a month plus the initial processing fee and an inexplicable year-end maintenance fee.
From May 3, 2008 to May 3, 2009, I lost 19 pounds; although, the weight loss was not strictly due to my activity at the fitness club. I continued to tweak my diet and I also participated in other activities outside of the gym, including rock climbing (Upper Limits), three swimming classes (YMCA), a rock climbing class (Center of Clayton), a stair climbing competition and a Women on Weights class (YMCA).
I still swim (at least two days) at a facility other than my fitness club which does not have a pool. While I was working on the swimming, I also got to check out The Heights and Riverchase which have very nice facilities but cost more for non-residents.
I plan to check out some other fitness centers, including 24 Hr Fitness which has a swimming pool, to see if I might be more at home elsewhere. Otherwise, I'm contract-free and paying on a month-to-month basis.